Ditch the business plan!

What are they saying about the business plan

Some quotes from

Guy Kawasaki
Most people spend eighty percent of their effort on crafting a one million cell Excel spreadsheet that no one believes”
“A good business plan is an elaboration of a good pitch”
“You are flexible and fast moving: changing as you learn more and more about the market”

John Mullins
most business plans should have been abandoned before they were written”
“If they can find the fatal flaw before they write their business plan…
They can modify their idea – shaping the opportunity to better fit the hotly competitive world in which it seeks to bear fruit”.

David Gumpert:
He wrote Burn your business plans
And while planning and analysis are related to financial performance, this planning may not need to be in the form of a written business plan…flexibility is critical”

William Bygrave
Entrepreneurs must be nimble, and will be more apt to stick with a flawed concept they spent months drafting
A study of 116 businesses started by alumni who graduated between 1985 and 2003. Comparing success measures such as annual revenue, employee numbers and net income, the study found no statistical difference in success between those businesses started with formal written plans and those without them...

Benson Honig. In one of his important research on entrepreneurship…
Hypothesis #4 : Producing business plans will increase the probability of a nascent organization’s survival
Hypothesis #5 : Producing business plans is positively correlated with the probability of a nascent organization’s reaching profitability

So after teaching business planning to grads and undergrads at North America’s best kept secret (in the top ten out of US business school, according to Forbes this year and the Business Week best international business school in 2004). I decided to tackle this problem. With the help of a serial entrepreneur and teacher of entrepreneurship: (10 companies sold with profits). We came up with an alternative to the business plan.

It’s already being tested in french and a launch is planned for autumn 2009 in english.

Follow me on twitter-64x64

to be sure not to miss the progress.

One response

16 02 2009
Mark MacLeod

Hi Alain,

Unlike Guy, I do see the value of a detailed financial model. I have lived several cases where giving VCs a well thought model that they could play with to look at different scenarios and strategies got them over the hump and ready to invest.

That being said, actual business plans are useless. Very few startups achieve success with their original plan. Writing a big document is useless.

Look forward to hearing more about what you’re cooking up as an alternative.


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